Vertebral fractures on routine chest computed tomography: relation with arterial calcifications and future cardiovascular events

Providi Study Group, Joachim Wildberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease often coexist. Vertebral fractures incidentally imaged in the course of routine care might be able to contribute to the prediction of cardiovascular events. Following a case-cohort design, 5,679 patients undergoing chest CT were followed for a median duration of 4.4 years. Cases were defined as patients who subsequently developed a cardiovascular event (n = 493). The presence and severity of vertebral fractures, as well as aortic, coronary and valvular calcifications on CT were investigated. Cases were more likely to be male (69 vs 60 %) and older (66 vs 61 years old). Prevalent vertebral fractures conferred an elevated risk of cardiovascular events after adjustment for age and gender [hazard ratio (HR) of 1.28, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.07 to 1.54]. This effect remained moderate after correction for cardiovascular calcifications (HR 1.20, CI 0.99-1.44). However, in terms of discrimination, vertebral fractures did not have substantial incremental prognostic value after correction (C-index was 0.683 vs 0.682 for models with and without vertebral fractures respectively). Prevalent vertebral fractures on routine clinical chest CT are related to future cardiovascular events but do not have additional prognostic value to models that already include age, gender and cardiovascular calcifications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-445
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Spinal fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Vascular calcification
  • Computed tomography

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